"We Can't Turn Back the Pages of Time"

"We Can't Turn Back the Pages of Time"

Posted in the Nicollet Forum

“"Embracing Home Town Memories"”

Since: Nov 13

Kasota, Minnesota USA

#1 Nov 18, 2013
Driving down the narrow, winding road of Kasota, my heart leapt as I approached the old town hall I’d remembered so well. Finally, I'd ventured back to the town I’d grown up in so long ago. I'd intended for many years to return there. It represented the most cherished memories of my childhood. Yet "You can't go back home again” echoed in the corners of my mind. As I rounded the corner I drove past house after house. I was disillusioned by what I saw. I wondered how this could be the same town in which I’d grown-up long ago. The roads seemed so much narrower now than I'd remembered and the houses had aged beyond belief. Despite a vague familiarity nothing looked the same to me. I experienced a strange, deep surge of sadness. Driving on, I felt certain that the old house in which I’d grown up would surely not disappoint me. How well I remembered it’s beauty. As a child I’d always loved to think of it as my huge white castle. It was surrounded by a wonderland of Catalpa Trees, lilac bushes, apple orchards and hundreds of lovely flowers. A perfect setting for a child to imagine her very own wonderland. It had always been a place which radiated love and tranquility and I’d always known happiness there. It was almost as if all those beautiful memories had, for years, been beckoning my brief return. Turning into the long, gravel driveway, I slowly passed what I'd remembered as a sumptuous garden that flourished under the tender loving care of my grandfather's many long, hard hours of labor. Before me was only an enormous field of tall, unkempt weeds. I felt grateful that my grandfather would never have to bear the heartbreak seeing this would have brought him. I visualized him there, pushing his old hand tiller, the sun beating mercilessly down on his back. I looked farther ahead expecting to see the picturesque apple orchards, but they, too, were gone. Everything seemed painfully desolate. Driving on, my eyes fell upon the house which has, for so long held so many of my childhood memories. Shocked, I saw before me a decrepit old house. It was no longer the towering white castle I’d hoped to find. It had been permitted to weather with the years. The old house appeared to be crying out for the care that it had once known. There were no blossoming Catalpa trees nor billowy lilac bushes majestically surrounding it. Only brownish, sun-dried grass which desperately thirsted for water. I sat, silently engulfed in sadness. My heart cried out to that dear old place I'd loved so well. I knew then that I should never have ventured back. As I felt a tear emerging, a sound caught my attention. I looked up to see a little girl of about five come running out of the house slamming the old porch door behind her. I wondered how she could appear so happy in that old run-down place. As I was about to drive away, she ran toward my car. I paused to roll down my window, she very cheerfully announced “Hello! I’m Snow White and this is my cottage. I live here with my seven dwarfs! Would you like to play with us?” I smiled but shook my head ‘no’. As she turned and scurried away I realized that she was every bit as happy there as I’d once been. I pondered her words,“this is my cottage.” They reminded me so much of the way I'd referred to that place as "my castle” when I’d been her age. I paused to watch her happily at play. My heart was suddenly warmed by what I saw. I realized how that dear old place had not really lost it’s beauty at all.“Beauty is in the eye of the beholder” ran through my mind. I'd seen reflected in the little girl’s eyes the beauty I'd once known there. I wondered whether she'd one day return there just as I had. I somehow hoped that she wouldn’t. Driving away, I dried the tear that I’d felt emerging earlier, no longer a tear of sorrow. For, the little girl I’d met had unknowingly transformed my sadness into a very peaceful kind of understanding and acceptance. Copyright 1974 by JC Fredlund

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